Installing a new Pella external back door.

Uncategorized Add comments

We bought our house on Memorial Day weekend 2002 (7 years ago). During the building process, I was harping on the builder about everything I could find. Apparently, I didn’t harp enough about the doors and windows! Every external door in our house is starting to have problems, from the gap between the door frame and the door getting big enough to let sunshine through to the door itself falling apart. Additionally, all of the vinyl windows in the house are starting to show problems, mainly leaking water from outside to inside the wall and around the window frame.

So, I started on the process of replacing the doors. We bought a nice low-E triple pane door from Pella windows. I had seen Pella doors installed in other houses and was always impressed at how solid and tight they were when shut. There were having a 50% off sale, so the time was right.

I paid for the door in mid-November, so I expected the door to show up around Christmas.  It didn’t.  I was told it was backordered and should be in on Jan. 11.  Jan. 11 came and went, no door.  Was told to check again on Monday when the next shipment was supposed to come in, still wasn’t there.  This went on for another month and a half until it finally showed up.  Apparently, it was stuck in a Cincinnati warehouse for over a month.  Guess they don’t care how long it takes to deliver since they already have your money.

Finally, I had the door and I found a weekend where I could get my Dad to help me install it.  We cut the original door out with a sawzaw, it didn’t take long.  Then we dry fit the door back into the rough opening, it was tight.  It only looked tight on the bottom and top of the door, so I decided to try and chisel those areas that was tight so we could slide the door in.  I did so, the door slide in, but the top reveal on the door between the door and the top frame was way off.  It looked like I lived in a crooked house.  I couldn’t get the door to true up in any way to make it look right.  After 2 hours of fighting with shims and screwing and unscrewing the door, we decided it was time to do something with the rough opening.

Using a crowbar, we pulled the hinge side 2×4 out of the rough opening.  I ripped 1/4 inch off of the 2×4 and then we reinstalled it.  Checked the fit on the door again, still couldn’t get the door to true up.  So, I took the 2×4 out on the lock side of the rough opening.  Ripped it down 1/4 of an inch.  Reinstalled it.  Now I had a nice 1/2 inch gap between the door and the opening to give me all the freedom we needed to hang the door.

We still had a problem getting the reveal on the door to look even.  I fought with a level on the top and hinge side of the door frames for another hour trying to get things work.  Then I realized that every story I have ever read about hanging a door started with installing shims on the hinge side of the door, preferrably behind where the hinges are located on the door and making sure those hinges are level to each other.  We did that, caulked between the floor and the threshold of the door, installed the door, screwed it into the shims and Wahla, the reveal was perfect.

The only thing left was to level up the lock side of the door frame, nail it in and check the reveal all the way around the door.  Perfect!

Now we used low expansion spray foam to insulate around the doors.  It took most of a professional sized can to fill in all of the gaps.  The only thing left was trimming around the exterior and interior of the door.

Originally, the exterior of the door had wooden brick mold trim.  When I bought this door, I new that I never wanted to paint the outside of the door again.  So, we bought the door with aluminum cladding on the outside.  Pella doors do not come with brick molding or a good place to install brick molding.  Fortunately, my Dad new how to deal with this and had the tools to put his plan to action.  We installed Aluminum molding around the outside using an aluminum break and sheet aluminum the color of the cladding on the outside of the door.

IMG_9544-small.jpg IMG_9545-small.jpg IMG_9542-small.jpg

I was amazed at how easy installing the aluminum was.  We were able to score the aluminum with a straight edge and a utility knife, then using the break bend it to cut the aluminum.  Then we measured and marked where we needed to bend the aluminum to make it fit between the door and the siding.  On the door side, we needed a 3/8 inch bend to fit inside the drip edge of the door.  On the vinyl side, we bent ~1 inch to tuck next to the siding.  We measured and bent all of the pieces, installed them, using a wooden shim to hold the metal in place on the door and then I caulked between the trim and the siding to make sure water didn’t go between the two.  In 40 minutes, done with the exterior trimming of the door.

On the inside, I had to replace the trim around the door and the baseboard trim close to the door because the new door wasn’t exactly in the same position as the old door.  Additionally, I had to do some dry wall repair due to removing the studs in the rough opening, but no big deal.

IMG_9547.JPG IMG_9548-small.jpg IMG_9550-small.jpg

Now I have a wonderful door installed and the difference in the heat loss on this new door is amazing.  I still have one of the original doors installed in my basement.  When you put your hand on the glass, it is cold to the touch.  Additionall, you put your hand around the gap between the door and the frame and you will find spots where cold air is coming in.  On the new door, the glass is cool, not cold to the touch.  The door has a triple locking mechanism, one lock at the top, bottom and handle.  When it is shut and locked, you don’t feel anything.  Additionally, the door is solid!

I am definitely thrilled with the door, but not looking forward to the price tag of another one when I have to replace the basement door.  Oh, well.

Leave a Reply

WP Theme & Icons by N.Design Studio
Entries RSS Comments RSS Log in